Guide to A-level results day 2018

Students with their A-level results

Everything you need to know about getting your results

A-level results are released on Thursday 16 August 2018.

Here's what to expect from the day...and how The Student Room can help you. Thinking about getting a remark? Read our guide here.

1. Check your status on Track

Let's not pretend you'll be doing anything other than this first thing!

Log onto UCAS Track and you'll be able to find out whether your firm choice has already confirmed your place. Track opens at around 8am on the morning of A-level results day.

You should be able to get on there from that point - but thousands of other people are going to be trying to do exactly the same thing, so try not to stress too much if the site seems to be running slowly.

While Track will tell you whether your chosen uni has accepted you, it won't detail your grades. You may well be accepted by your firm even if you haven't achieved the exact terms of your offer.

2. Have some breakfast

Don't skip this. You're either going to be celebrating today or making some important decisions on what you need to do next. Either way you don't want to be getting all wobbly because you're trying to do get through the day on an empty stomach. Results day is an emotional time; make sure you're fully fueled up!

3. Get ready

The dates of exam results days in 2018

IB results day Thursday 5 July 2018
SQA results day Tuesday 7 August 2018
A-level results day Thursday 16 August 2018
GCSE results day Thursday 23 August 2018

If you need to go to school or college to get confirmation of your results you'll need to take a few things with you.
  • Mobile phone (charged and topped up)
  • Pen and paper
  • Calculator (in case something goes wrong and your modules aren't adding up)
  • UCAS/uni email with the exact wording of conditional offers for both your firm and insurance ('Was it ABB or AAB?')
  • Contact details for your firm and insurance universities - telephone and email addresses for the main admissions office
  • Parents (optional)
  • Tissues - good results or not so good results might make you weepy

Then...all of a sudden...the waiting's over. You'll have opened your results and you'll know exactly where you stand.

You've made your firm offer!

Congratulations! Get excited! Go and tell your friends. Phone your Auntie Mabel. Tell everyone!

Will Track update by 8am?

You might find your UCAS Track hasn't been updated in time for results day morning, so don't be too concerned if your Track is still showing 'conditional firm'. It should update later in the day, but if it still hasn't by Friday morning, phone the university to find out what the issue is.

When Track updates to show your place is confirmed, UCAS will email your AS12 letter. Read it carefully and follow the instructions. Some universities don't need you to do anything else to confirm your place, but others do. The letter explains exactly what you are required to do.

Either way, be sure to store the email (and ideally print out a copy of the letter). You'll need it as proof for bank accounts and things like that. Start a folder for all the information you receive from the university.


Guide to A-level results day 2016

You've missed your firm offer

Don't give up completely as there's still a chance they might accept you. First of all check UCAS Track. If Track says your place is 'unconditional' then you're fine. Relax, celebrate and leave the phone lines clear - you don't phone your university 'just to check'.

However, if Track shows that you've been unsuccessful, it's time to rethink your options for September. Although it can feel tempting to call your firm choice university and ask them to rethink offering you place, there's not much point. The uni will have spent time already contemplating your application; their decision will be final. 

However, if you are appealing any of your grades and have new information to provide, it's really worth keeping the university informed. 

If you do phone the uni because of either of these two reasons, remember to keep calm, and however stressed you feel, try not to be rude. The person who answers the phone will be trained to help you, and is more likely to want to help you if you are polite.

Remember, the more competitive the uni is, the less likely it is that they will be interested in being lenient.

If Track doesn't update

If by mid-morning on results day, Track still shows your offer as conditional then you'll need to phone the university because it suggests they are yet to make a final decision on your application.

The hotline phone number may be listed on the uni's website, or might have been sent to you in advance. If you haven't got a special number then just phone the uni's normal number and make it clear you are an existing offer holder, not a Clearing applicant.

Sometimes unis can take a long time to make a final decision - sometimes over a week after results day. If it reaches this point and you are still waiting then phone and ask when they expect to decide. Keep calm, remain polite - the person answering the phone may have no control over this process.

That said, the universities are not supposed to keep people in limbo for too long, so if you think they are being unreasonable and causing you to miss out on places elsewhere via Clearing then contact UCAS for advice.


Checking Track on A-level results day

You missed your firm offer, but the university still accepts you

If Track shows your place as unconditional despite missed grades, you have a place.

Congratulations! That's it. You'll just need to go home and await your AS12 email. Don't phone the uni just to check they really meant it. If its on Track as confirmed, you have a place.

You missed your firm offer, and it won't accept you with lower grades

You now have several options and your school/college will be able to talk you through what these are, with specific regard to your circumstances. These include accepting your insurance place, retaking A-levels and reapplying for next year. See the entries about insurance offers below.

You didn't get your firm offer, but you met your insurance offer

Nice work! You can still go to one of your top two universities! If this shows as unconditional, you don't need to do anything further now. Again, this may take a while to update on Track. If this is still showing as conditional by lunchtime on results day, you should phone that university to find out what the hold up is. Remember, stay calm and be polite.

If you are now going to your insurance choice, you will need to change your student loan details using your online student finance account, but this can wait a few days so just go home and wait for your confirmation letter. You will also need to sort out accommodation at your new university.

You missed your insurance offer as well as your firm offer

Check UCAS Track to see if you've been accepted with lower grades. If your insurance still says your offer is conditional then they haven't decided yet - phone them up like you did your firm choice. They may still accept you with the lower grades. If they accept you, then that's great! If they don't, then you'll be entered for Clearing, but remember, you don't have to go to another university if you don't want to.

Realising that neither your firm or insurance university will now accept you can be very hard, especially if everyone else is jumping up and down and shrieking 'I'm going to uni!'. Your school has seen students in exactly this position before and can help. Don't fall into the trap of thinking 'my entire life is over'.

Go and talk to your teachers at school/college, they know your circumstances best and are there to help you with advice about what to do next. Don't panic - remember, lots of very able people either don't go to uni straight from school or don't go at all.

Your main options now:

  • Enter Clearing and see if your grades are acceptable to another university
  • Retake your A-levels and reapply for next year's entry to uni
  • Forget about uni for the moment and either get a job, go to college to do a non-degree course, or do an traineeship/apprenticeship.

    You missed your firm or insurance offer but the uni has accepted you for a different course

    This will show up on Track as UCC (unconditional changed course) - with the new course code.

    You have five days to decide whether to accept this alternative. You don't have to. Read the course description carefully and be certain that it is still a course that you want to do.

    You will receive (via email) a letter from UCAS (the AS12C) which sets out your options, though you can accept or decline this offer on Track even if you haven't yet received the AS12C. If you decline the changed course offer, you will either go to your insurance (if applicable and they have accepted you) or into Clearing.

    If you are happy with the changed course offer, you do have to accept it on Track and must do so within five days. Whatever you do, don't just ignore it!

    If both your firm and insurance choices make you a UCC offer, you can then choose between them, or decline both and go into Clearing.


    Student using phone

    Extenuating circumstances

    If anything serious prevented you performing at your best in your exams (such as the death of a close relative), your school should have told the exam boards about this at the time. Unfortunately there is nothing else you or your school can do after this point or once you have your results. 

    If you have still missed your offer(s) by one or two grades, most universities will not be in a position to offer you a place.

    If you do decide to try talking to a university to explain your situation, then you will need to have your teachers on hand to verify your circumstances for you; and it will have to be a serious life-changing issue involved.

    Exam remarks

    If you've missed your offer and do decide to get a remark, you will need to tell the uni that you are having a re-mark when you phone them, and you will need to apply for a priority re-mark.

    If you only choose a standard re-mark, then it will take too long, as you need to meet the conditions of your offer (even if it is for a deferred place) by 31 August. It is essential that you let your uni know immediately if you are requesting a priority re-mark (some have a form on their website for you to do this, so check).

    Be prepared for the possibility that they will say that even if the result comes back in your favour before 31 August they won't accept you. It is worth making the point as good practice among universities is to honour the 'by 31 August' deadline.

    Some universities may still accept you (or offer deferred entry) if your re-mark results come back later than 31 August, providing you told them in advance. When you phone them, ask if they are willing to hold your place for you while you wait for the re-mark. If possible, get them to confirm their deadline date in writing to you.

    The Adjustment period

    If you have exceeded the requirements for your firm offer, you can consider looking for a place at a different university asking for higher entry grades. This is not the same as Clearing - that is for people who do not hold any university place offers.

    Exceeding your offer means that you must meet and exceed the conditions that are stated in your firm choice offer. So, if your firm offer is ABB and you get AAB then you are eligible for Adjustment, but you are not eligible if you get ABC or ABBB.

    Remember you do not have to give up your firm offer in order to explore what else might be available to you in Adjustment. Nor do you have to accept any alternatives you are offered.

    You've decided to defer for a year

    If you don't already hold a deferred offer, once you have had your place confirmed you can contact the uni directly and ask if they can defer you. Have some reasons handy and it should be OK. It's best to do this as soon as you know you want to defer, but theoretically you can do it right up until the start date.

    Your university may not agree to this, although most will. If the university won't agree, then you have the option of withdrawing from UCAS for this year and reapplying.

    You've changed your mind about going to university

    You may now decide that you need some time to think about going to uni. What seemed like a great idea last October is now feeling a bit less certain. Or you have no confirmed place and you've decided that Clearing isn't for you. Or maybe you're unhappy with what you have ended up with and you now want to have a gap year and do some resits/apply again next year.

    Whatever the reason, you don't have to go to uni if you don't want to.

    I'm already holding an offer for this year

    You'll need to contact the uni and tell them that you don't want to go. You should also update your application in Track so that UCAS knows that you aren't going to uni this year. Remember if you do this you won't be able to use Clearing and so will not end up at university anywhere this year.

    I've got a deferred place for next year

    Again, you must tell the university concerned if you no longer want this place. Either fill in the AS12 slip to say that you won't be taking up your place, or contact UCAS by phone. Remember, you cannot reapply through UCAS while holding a deferred place. If you want to apply for next year, you must drop this place and make a completely fresh application.

    I don't currently hold an offer

    If you missed your firm and insurance offers and they're not accepting you, then this will apply. You'll automatically be entered into Clearing. But if you don't want to go into Clearing, then you don't have to do anything. Just don't apply anywhere through Clearing and you won't be going.

    If you want to officially withdraw from the UCAS process, you can do so. Simply use the withdraw button on UCAS Track, but be certain it is what you really do want to do.

    Talk to your family and/or your teachers before making any big decisions - they have your best interests at heart, and sometimes just talking your thoughts and feelings through with someone can make things clearer.

    Think about possibly getting a place through Clearing and deferring (if the uni is okay with this idea) to give yourself time to think.

    Think about reapplying to more realistic or just different universities for next year.

    Offers with GCSE conditions

    If your offer was reliant on you getting a certain grade in a GCSE retake (typically for English or maths), then the university will wait until that result is known before confirming your place.

    This is usually one week after A-level results are published. You cannot do anything to speed this process along. Phoning the university will not make any difference, you will simply have to wait for the GCSE results before you know for certain that you are going to uni.

    If your A-level results do not fulfil the terms of your offer, the university can reject you before waiting for any GCSE results.

    You cannot enter Clearing until your firm and insurance universities have confirmed or rejected your conditional offer(s). This can be frustrating since if you do miss out on your GCSE grades and the universities do reject you as a result, you may have missed any possible Clearing places.

    Also on TSR...

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